Chutes and Ladders | ETF Trends

By Salvatore Bruno via


  • Equity markets continued to perform positively through April with the S&P 500 returning 4.05% and the Russell 2000 returning 3.41%. Year-to-date, large caps have outperformed small caps with lower volatility.
  • International equities, while still negative year-to-date, have turned in positive performance in April with the MSCI EAFE up 2.81% and the MSCI EM up 2.11%.
  • The U.S. yield curve remains inverted in the front-end of the curve with the curve steepening past the 2-year. Short-duration fixed income and credit were positive in the month while longer duration treasuries underperformed. Short duration treasuries were up 0.20% and intermediate and long-term treasuries were down -0.42% and -1.77%, as represented by the respective Bloomberg Barclays indexes.
  • Credit spreads tightened during the month with investment grade and high yield CDS spreads tightening. Investment grade credit was up 0.61% while high yield credit was up 1.29%.
  • While broad (spot) commodities were slightly negative for the month at -0.67% due to depressed levels for metals, livestock, and agricultural commodities, oil continues to perform positively as global inventory has been depressed and sanctions are in place on oil producing countries Venezuela and Iran. WTI Crude was up 5.47% in April.
  • The dollar performed positively versus a broad basket of currencies, gaining on the EUR, GPB, and JPY cross.
  • Of the eight main hedge fund strategies tracked, Global Macro returned the strongest return of 1.15%. Event-Driven and Merger Arbitrage strategies also performed positively at 0.47% and 0.08%. The Anadarko/Chevron announced deal kicked off one of the largest bidding wars within the energy sector over the last 4 years. Equity Market-Neutral strategies underperformed at -0.50%.

Economic Data

  • The U.S. posted better than expected 1Q GDP figures reporting 3.2% versus the survey estimate of 2.3%. Personal consumption also surprised on the upside at 1.2% while the trade balance improved.

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